Photo credit: Rob Carr
Last time the Washington Capitals and Winnipeg Jets met, Ovechkin got taunted and the Caps lost a slot in the standings. The Caps remembered and came out swinging this game. But then Dale Hunter enacted his formula for something, and everything went to hell.
Thanks to Jeff Halpern, Jason Chimera went cruising along in the O-zone, tucking the puck behind Pavelec with his backhand. Alex Ovechkin recorded two consecutive goals in the second– a subtle wristshot and a loud 6-on-5 one-timer. The Jets rallied back with goals from Maxwell and Little before the second intermission. The Caps had literally no offense (seriously, none) in third until Spencer Machacek tied it up.
Into overtime, where Stapleton won it. Jets beat Caps 4-3 (OT).
- Dustin Byfuglien has been effective against the Caps this season, but his …uhh… gravitational pull kept him well behind the play for Jason Chimera’s screaming breakaway goal.
- Alex Ovechkin has 8 goals in his last 6 games and is riding a four-game goal streak. That hot streak began started right after the Washington Post ran that brimstone-scented condemnation on March 10. Ovechkin was good on both ends of the ice tonight, blocking shots in front of Neuvy and rubbing his belly in front of Ondrej.
- Ovi was a force of nature, but he and his team were promptly quelled. After that third goal, the Caps did what they have done all season– playing hockey like making friends on the first day of school: shy, meek, shuffling their feet. That de-escalation allowed the Jets to erase the buffer that Ovechkin created in the second period and swarm through most of the third.
- Seriously, the Caps didn’t have a shot on goal in the third until almost 17 minutes in. That final period saw shots go 17-2. Is this who our team is now? Is this an identity that the players and fans can rally around?
- Brooks Laich fought Jim Slater. No punches landed. We have exclusive video:
- Both Mike Knuble and Alex Semin had their advances on Pavelec’s net rebuffed by the scourge we know as teh Post. These two golden chances, both born of sandpaper and insight, would have been goals in a universe that does not hate us. We live not in such a universe.
- Kanooble served on the top line, had muy muy scoring chances, and an assist on the first Ovechkin tally. It’s finally Knuble weather in DC.
The Capitals did it again: they came out tough, and then they retreated. Call it sitting back, playing tight, being conservative. You can argue the vocabulary or the philosophy; all we see are the results. By generating little offense late in the second and none in the third, the Caps let a dominating 3-goal lead evaporate.
It’s not a working strategy. It’s a formula for losers, and it is contrary to the instincts of this team.
This loss isn’t a failure of leadership, of lacking effort, or holey goaltending. This was a deliberate release of the game’s direction by Coach Dale Hunter.
But thanks to Erik Cole’s tour du chapeau naturel, the Habs destroyed the Senators, so our boys gained a little ground. But Vezina lock Henrik Lundqvist gave up 4 to the Sabres, so the Caps are now beating Buffalo for 8th place by a mere tiebreaker.
Here’s our 2nd period intermission video, featuring Coolio!